Millions and millions of college kids are heading back to schools these days. I remember my freshman year of college for many things. I remember skipping freshman orientation because I had reached the end boss in Final Fantasy 7. I recall watching a captain on the football team fair catch a punt on the one yard line in a game that got postponed due to excessive rain. I remember sleeping in a Target parking lot to buy a PS2 on the day it came out. I recall going to a dance club where a guy on my floor met his future wife Angela… except he thought her name was “Avalon” for a full week.
Of all of the things I remember about college, one of the things that I remember the most was my first access to broadband internet. Of course, my cheapo college didn’t have broadband internet. I had to go visit friends across town at Concordia. While there, I’d bring a handful of blank CD-Rs. Armed with high-speed internet for the first time, we’d download literally thousands of songs at a time off of Napster.
At the time, this literally had blown my mind. For the past three years, I’d been tying up our phone line for hours at a time downloading MP3s off of individual webpages using our dialup internet, file download managers, and a program that would automatically hang up the internet connection at 5 AM (aka – before my parents woke up).
Then, the walls came tumbling down. All kinds of networks started to block access to Napster. Being a bit of a tech-wiz, I found loopholes around that. Then, all of the songs you downloaded off of Napster contained an annoying skipping sound. Before too long, the service was blocked completely by Johnny Law.
Over the next few years, all sorts of programs made their way around the interwebs. I tried Kazaa, Morpheus, eMule, LimeWire, Audiogalaxy… they all had all sorts of problems both legal and viral.
Then, a few years later, Apple came out with iTunes and rewrote the music industry. Various other programs (Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, etc) have done quite a bit to change the music industry as well.
How to download music for free
If you use the described process, you are violating the terms of service and possibly committing a crime. I don’t actually download much music anymore. I pay for Spotify Premium, but if I’ve already pre-ordered an album (for example – the Bloc Party’s “Four” which came out last week), I will download it without feeling any ethical guilt whatsoever since they are usually available on the internet anywhere between 2 days to 2 months before you can actually buy them. I go to anywhere from 10-15 live concerts per year and actually support the artists I enjoy, so I don’t lose a lot of sleep over this. I’m the guy that has hundreds of cds and music dvds… I can say honestly that I’m not the guy that “the man” needs to look for. How you use these instructions is obviously up to you, though.
- Head over to www.groovedown.me/download and download either the Windows or Mac version of Groovedown.
- Install program. Be sure to select “Custom Installation” and deselect boxes to change default search engine and default homepage.
- Open Groovedown and click on the settings tab. Change the “Download Savepath” to wherever you want to save these files on your computer.
- Click on the Search tab. Type in the name of an artist, song or album and click on search. Once the results come back, click on the blue “+” sign on the left to download a song.
- Click on the Downloads tab to monitor how quickly it’s downloading. Go to the folder on your computer where the download is located and you’ll see your music file. Simply import into iTunes (or other media player) and you are ready to go.
That’s literally all you need to get all the music you want. I don’t actually use this program (I prefer a paid program called Grappler from Little App Factory which also grabs YouTube videos), but it should work for you. Unlike Kazaa and Napster, you aren’t sharing your music which should help avoid being a target of one of those frivolous multi-million dollar RIAA lawsuits.
Once again, though… let me get on my soapbox. Please don’t download music exclusively. Support the artists you like… whether it is a Spotify subscription, going to concerts, buying a shirt… whatever.